Road issues

Dallas stars must solve their road problems

The Dallas Stars are experiencing an identity crisis this season. When they’re at home, they have great energy, score goals and win more games than they lose, including a recent eight-game winning streak at the American Airlines Center. However, when they’re on the road, they struggle with just about every aspect of their game. If the Stars are to advance to the playoffs, they’ll have to find a way to get it away from Dallas.

Star Route stats are poor

It’s no secret why the Stars haven’t had such success on the road. They are currently 4-8-1 and have lost their last three games, scoring just five total goals in those competitions. While scoring goals has been a general problem for this team for years, their inability to score on the road is even more alarming. In 13 road games this season, Dallas has been outscored 45-28, including a shocking 20-7 differential in the second period. At home, they were able to reverse the scenario, beating their opponents 41-28. So what’s the problem ?

“There always has to be a big commitment in all three areas of the ice,” says Joe Pavelski. “You can’t take things for granted. It’s a tough league. There are good teams and you see a lot of them every night. It’s just a big commitment every night in some area. Put your nose in there, take a stab at playing sometimes, go deep. Little things that make it harder for teams to come to 200 feet. “

Joe Pavelski, Dallas Stars (Amy irvin / The writers of hockey)

Although it sounds simple, Pavelski describes their problems on the road perfectly. Difficulties don’t just come from their offense, defense or goalie, they stem from a lack of consistent play and energy in all three areas of their game. For some reason, they don’t provide not consistently the same level of combat when playing on the road. If you need more proof, take their 0-5-1 record when the opponent scores first.

While scoring the first in the NHL is a huge key to success, it shouldn’t be automatic for any team. Still, Dallas failed to bounce back after allowing the first goal of six attempts this season. This means that despite what players might say, they just let that first punch hit them against the canvas.

Responding to adversity is something the Stars have struggled with all season. When you’re on the road adversity is magnified with the roar of the home crowd and everything seems to be going 100 miles an hour. However, this is a team that has built a reputation for facing adversity. In the 2020 Stanley Cup Final, Dallas handled it better than any team in the league. Although they were constantly plagued by injuries, illnesses, bad luck, and game-changing games, they always seemed to find a way to bounce back. It’s a team that is built for long term success.

Unfortunately, this season has been quite the opposite. Whenever they get the chance to retaliate after a first punch, they instead seem to turn away, allowing their opponents to take the game right below them. What was once a feeling of confidence on the part of their fans is now shrouded in doubt, something that is also clearly on the minds of the players.

The stars have lost 8 of their last 9 on the road.

The stars see the light at the end of the tunnel

The good news in all of this? There have been signs of improvement lately. While there are no moral victories in professional sports, the Stars have shown growth in their road games over the past week or so. In Vegas they held a two-goal third-period lead before a determined Golden Knights team found their way home, while in San Jose they might have played their best road game ever. the season despite their inability to find the back of the net.

“It was the best road game we’ve played all year, and the feeling on the bench and the feeling in the hall, we felt great in the game, we just didn’t score,” Stars head coach Rick Bowness said. “This is how we have to play.”

So what is the solution? Is it as easy as getting more depth score? Will Roope Hintz’s return from illness solve their problems? Do they need better goalkeepers on the road? Does Jamie Benn need to assert dominance again? The list of questions may grow longer. However, the first step in the process is to find a way to play with more energy and more grain in a consistent manner. From there, the rest usually has a way of working out.